TAMPA, Fla. — A medical technology company and its CEO misrepresented the clinical study results for its plasma-based surgical product in violation of federal securities laws, a shareholder argues in an April 17 securities class action complaint filed in Florida federal court (Kyle Pritchard v. Apyx Medical Corp., et al., No. 19-0919, M.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 17 ruled that a federal district court did not err in holding that a law firm’s former attorney, who allegedly assisted R. Allen Stanford in operating his massive Ponzi scheme, was immune from civil lawsuits brought by non-clients, rejecting plaintiffs’ contentions that three exceptions exist permitting the law firm’s liability (Samuel Troice, et al. v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, et al., No. 17-11464, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11230).
CAMDEN, N.J. — An investor group and a pension trust filed motions on April 12 to consolidate related New Jersey federal court securities class actions against a reinsurance company and former executive officers as well as each seeking appointment as lead plaintiff over allegations of misrepresentation in underwriting and risk management techniques and a reinsurance portfolio’s risk (Michael Wigglesworth v. Maiden Holdings Ltd., et al., No. 19-05296, D. N.J.).
DENVER — A federal court did not err in dismissing a shareholder derivative lawsuit brought on behalf of The Western Union Co. for failure to plead demand futility because lead plaintiffs failed to sufficiently show that a majority of Western Union’s board of directors faced a substantial risk of liability for disregarding the company’s failure to implement an effective anti-money-laundering-compliance program (AML-compliance program), a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 16 (City of Cambridge Retirement System, et al. v. Hikmet Ersek, et al., No. 17-1381, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11077).
RICHMOND, Va. — Without providing further detail, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 16 affirmed a federal district court’s dismissal of an investor lawsuit brought against two-broker dealers for alleged violations of state and federal securities law and common-law fraud (Alfred L. Snapp Jr., et al. v. Lincoln Financial Securities Corp., et al., No. 18-1344, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11092).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 15 heard oral arguments in an appeal of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling in a securities class action lawsuit that Section 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires only a showing of negligence and not scienter but questioned the petitioners’ attorney as to why his clients did not raise their argument on appeal earlier in the litigation (Emulex Corp., et al. v. Gary Varjabedian, et al., No. 18-459, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — General Electric Co. (GE) will pay a $1.5 billion civil penalty pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) to resolve claims that it originated billions of dollars in subprime mortgage loans and issued and sold them to investment banks without disclosing the true quality of the loans, according to a settlement agreement reached on April 12 between the U.S. Department of Justice and GE.
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 11 determined that a federal district court did not err in dismissing a pro se plaintiff’s lawsuit against another security holder of a company in which the plaintiff had invested for federal securities law and common-law violations because the plaintiff’s claims were time-barred and not subject to tolling (Jackson Fairbanks Veit v. Angela Frater, et al., No. 18-2623, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10711).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ holding that defendants in a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) action forfeited their constitutional arguments against the appointment of the hearing officer by not specifically naming the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution in their arguments is unwarranted because the Ninth Circuit’s decision does not conflict with any decision of another federal court of appeals, the Securities and Exchange Commission argues in a March 28 opposition brief filed in the Supreme Court (Kabani & Co. Inc., et al. v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 18-1117, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1194).
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on March 31 ruled that the lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company and certain of its former executive officers failed to sufficiently plead any actionable misstatements or omissions or scienter in alleging that the defendants violated federal securities laws by misrepresenting that abstracts it was expected to present at a conference did not contain new and previously undisclosed information (Jessica Fergus v. Immunomedics Inc., et al., No. 16-3335, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55386).
SAN FRANCISCO — A shareholder of a cloud computing software company sued the company and two of its senior officials in California federal court on March 29, alleging that the defendants issued misrepresentations regarding the company’s growth investment and increase in marketing and sales activities in violation of federal securities law (Ryan Scheller v. Nutanix Inc., et al., No. 19-1651, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A federal district court applied the wrong legal standard in assessing shareholders’ post-dismissal motion for leave to amend their complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and certain of its senior executives and determining that post-judgment amendment would be futile, the shareholders argue in an April 4 appellant brief filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Metzler Investment GmbH, et al. v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., et al., No. 18-3807, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court erred in dismissing a securities class action against a medical device maker and two of its senior executives alleging violations of federal securities law because it failed to properly assess a shareholder’s falsity and scienter allegations, the shareholder alleges in a March 15 appellant brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Vicky Nguyen v. Endologix Inc., et al., No. 18-56322, 9th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — On rehearing, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 10 ruled that a federal district court did not err in dismissing a securities class action lawsuit against a provider of orthotic and prosthetic patient care services and certain of its current and former executive officers because a pension fund failed to adequately show that the defendants acted with the requisite scienter in allegedly concealing improper accounting of the company’s Medicare reimbursements for its services in violation of federal securities law (Alaska Electrical Pension Fund v. Vinit K. Asar, et al., No. 17-50162, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10637).
ORLANDO, Fla. — The former associated general counsel and assistant secretary of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on April 9 agreed to an injunction permanently enjoining him from violating provisions of federal securities law and ordering him to pay disgorgement of ill-gotten gains in connection with his involvement in an insider trading scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission says in an unopposed motion for entry of judgment filed in Florida federal court (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Paul Bannon Powers, No. 19-0664, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel’s partial reversal of a federal district court’s dismissal of federal claims in a securities class action lawsuit is unnecessary because the Ninth Circuit did not impose a “duty to update” a “statement of historical fact that was accurate when made, where the ‘value’ or ‘weight’ of that prior statement was later ‘diminished’ by subsequent events” as petitioners argue in a petition for writ of certiorari, a shareholder argues in an April 4 opposition brief filed in the Supreme Court (Joseph P. Hagan, et al. v. Karim Khoja, No. 18-1010, U.S. Sup.).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A federal judge in Arkansas on April 8 granted final approval of a $166 million settlement in a securities class action brought against Wal-Mart Inc. and its CEO and dismissed all claims against the defendants with prejudice (City of Pontiac General Employees Retirement System v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 12-5162, W.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60281).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a restaurant chain, certain of its senior officers and others asked a federal judge in California on April 3 to grant preliminary approval of a $20 million proposed settlement (Daniel Turocy v. El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., et al., No. 15-1343, C.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI — In a two-page order on April 2, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that a convicted fraudster’s appeal of a federal district court’s denial of his post-conviction motions has been mooted by its ruling in a previous appeal filed by the appellant (United States of America v. John G. Westine Jr., No. 18-5883, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9718).
HOUSTON — A group of shareholders on April 1 moved in Texas federal court to consolidate their class action against a hydraulic fracturing company with another case, contending that the actions present “virtually identical factual and legal issues” regarding allegations of securities fraud pertaining to a company acquisition (FNY Partners Fund LP, et al. v. Alta Mesa Resources Inc., et al., No. 19-1027, S.D. Texas).